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10 national parks to be re-branded to attract more tourists: Balala

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said he met with the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Assistant Directors in charge of the national parks to forge a way forward on improving their products.

MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 1 – The Ministry of Tourism has identified ten national parks that will be rebranded to attract more tourists. 

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala on Thursday evening said he met with the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Assistant Directors in charge of the national parks last December to forge a way forward on improving their products.

According to Balala, majority of the national parks in the country have failed to transform with the emerging new trends in the tourism industry globally.

“I asked them to prepare a SWOT analysis report on how we can improve the experience in our national parks,” said Balala.

Speaking to the press on the sidelines of a two-day Coast Tourism Stakeholders Summit at Neptune Beach Hotel in Diani, Kenya’s South Coast, Balala said he expects to receive back the report in mid-February.

“I am waiting for their report. The moment the report is ready, then we are going to realign budgetary support and I will also empower the Assistant Directors in these 10 national parks to implement their strategies on their own,” said Balala.

The ten parks earmarked for re-branding are; Shimba Hills, Tsavo East and West, Amboseli, Nairobi, Nakuru, Aberdare, Sibiloi, Meru and two others, said Balala.

At the same time, Balala said they have established a Coast Beach Tourism Working Group, which will come up with strategies on improving the country’s beach destination.

The Working Group is chaired by Hasnain Noorani, the Managing Director of the Pride Inn Hotels.

“Today we were having a very great symposium and an important one on the transformation of the Kenyan coast beach line. Kenya’s beach tourism used to attract over 70 per cent of tourism coming into the country, but now it’s only 30 per cent,” said Balala.

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He said the ministry now want to turn it around so that they can increase the number of tourists coming into the county for holiday.

“Previously, we used to have very many hotels and chain of hotels at the coast, but they closed down. Now we have less capacity. Earlier on, I had also said that the coast tourism sector is still at 50 per cent of what we used to have before the disputed 2007 general election, therefore we still have a long way to go on improving this sector,” he said.

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